At a university known for its engineering program, the arts on campus can seem to fade into the background. Perhaps not the object of most students’ studies, the arts can seem to be far from the central theme of Virginia Tech campus life. Where is the connection to the right side of the brain when there is such a focus on STEM?
Among students who are striving to achieve professional careers with six-figure salaries in a realm full of technical problems and solutions, there is bound to exist a certain unfamiliarity regarding open, strictly creative pursuits that lack a quantifiable function. Whether this is due to a certain stigma of uselessness or purposelessness surrounding the arts, or simply a product of business and interest in the sciences.
Regardless, art has a lot to offer to a campus like Virginia Tech’s. There is so much more to life than that which can be calculated, and it only serves to expose students in such a way that they can obtain new experiences and learn more fully. Artistic and creative activity uses different parts of the mind than STEM classes do and expanding into artistic activities can allow for mental growth. Although seemingly unrelated, writing, playing, and listening to music as well as observing and creating visual art can help people think in new ways and can help new mental connections be made.
Personally, as a Building Construction major with a particular affinity for creative projects, I have found in myself that artistic activities can bring out different sides in me. When I let go of that part of me that is caught up in my own academia and sink into a head-space where my thoughts are freer and my hands are set to creating, I can relax in a different way and find emotional release.
In all the pressure of college course demands and the influence of STEM at Virginia Tech, an outlet can be found, and a door to new ways of learning can be found, through the arts.